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I honestly believe anyone who puts fundamental belief in the supernatural needs a poke in the face with a reality stick.

And here and now, in the twenty-first century, religion is responsible for holding mankind back more than anything else, with an endless tide of backwards ideology; everything from boycotting Amnesty International to advanced misogyny and inciting murder. Obviously, you've got the casual followers, who will, for example, go to church at Christmas or to ease their guilt every now and then, and they're mostly harmless, but they're not exactly part of the solution.
QUOTE (Witless @ Jun 20 2007, 04:42 PM) *
QUOTE (Greeneyes @ Jun 20 2007, 04:20 PM) *

QUOTE (Wookiee @ Jun 20 2007, 02:06 PM) *
religion is clearly of no benefit to anyone, and is the province of idiots and psychopaths.

That is a rather strong opinion there, Wookiee. Do you really regard anyone who has a religious stance other than staunch atheism an idiot? Regardless of anything else about them? Many scientists, like Newton and Einstein, and, as Calantyr mentioned, Planck, still believed in a god, despite their contributions to science

Actually Einstein didn't believe in god, and the jury's still out on Newton.

Newton on the other hand grew up in a prolifically christian time, and everyone believer or not called themselves a christian, and painted everything they said with religious metaphors. But as I understand it, it has been difficult to say for sure that he was religious in the sense that he had faith in a concious divine creator, so much as he believed in the majesty of the universe and simply used christian descriptions (as was very common at the time) to describe them.

Newton's religious beliefs were largely Judeo-Christian in origin, but stemmed from his reading of the very early Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic copies of the Bible and related scripture. This lead him to reject the idea of the Trinity (a little embarrassing for a Fellow of Trinity College), and even go to the King to ask him to ask the College to change the rules when he was elected a Fellow, as previously to that all Fellow must be members of the C of E clergy, and Newton refused to join what he saw as a misguided and corrupt organisation.

However, this isn't to say that he didn't believe in God. He certainly believed in a Divine Creator, yet not an interceding or personal God. His philosophy was one of perfect creation which leads to a deterministic view of the Universe that, logically extended by Leibniz, leads to the conclusion that God must not intercede, for that would admit a flaw in the perfect creation.

Sorry for the slightly off-topicness, The personal lives of scientists is something that interests me a lot, Newton in particular, along with a few others.
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